C.Bekpen; Host-Pathogen Interactions... , April 29, 11:40, G015
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  • C.Bekpen; Host-Pathogen Interactions... , April 29, 11:40, G015

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Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences


Host-pathogen interactions and lineage-specific duplications

               Cemalettin Bekpen, Genome Sciences, Seattle  

Abstract: The majority of the genes present in humans have orthologs in other mammalian species. Segmental duplication is one of the main shaping forces of the genome of an organism, resulting in a repertoire of paralog gene segments. These are plastic regions of rapid structural change, chromosomal instability and evolutionary rearrangements. Moreover, gene duplication events are the primary source for novel gene functions. To date, these duplicated genes have not been properly studied. This is due to both the lack of homologs in outgroup species, and to the fact that they are embedded in complex regions where 1:1 sequence alignments have been problematic. The most common genes located in these complex regions are genes known to be involved in immunity.

Comparative genomics and the functional analysis of three duplicated gene families, Morpheus and Lrrc37 in human and the IRG gene family in mouse, will be presented.  The impact of the diversity and functional properties of these segmental duplicated genes to human health will be discussed.

Bio: In 1998, upon completion of my bachelor’s degree at the Department of Biology in Abant İzzet Baysal University , I joined the same department as a teaching assistant. After a short stay at the Plant Biotechnology Lab of Prof. Ekrem Gürel, I received a teaching assistantship position and moved to the Department of Biological Sciences at Middle East Technical University . During my graduate studies in the laboratory of Prof. İnci Togan, I worked on establishing a new and more efficient technique to isolate DNA from non-invasive and non-destructive samples for population genetics analysis based on micro-satellite polymorphisms. After completing my M.Sc., I was accepted in the International Graduate School in Genetics and Functional Genomics at the Institute of Genetics , part of the University of Cologne ( Cologne , Germany ). After 9 months of lab rotations and courses, I started my PhD thesis research in the laboratory of Prof. Jonathan C. Howard. During this time, I worked on the comparative genomics and function of the IRG gene family. This gene family is involved in cell-autonomous immunity in mice. My studies showed a clear distinction between the mouse and the human immune system in terms of cell autonomous immunity. In 2006, I moved to Prof. Evan Eichler’s Lab, in the Genome Sciences Department of the University of Washington ( Seattle , USA ). Since then I have been studying the Morpheus and Lrrc37 gene families at both the comparative genomics and functional levels.  


April 29, 2009, 11:40, FENS G015